Bonnie Camo MD Natural Medicine & Homeopathy Trebisacce, Italy
Heavy Metal Brain Damage
Lead poisoning is thought to have led to the downfall of the Roman Empire. The ancient Roman water pipes were made of up to 99.3% lead, according to Dr. K-G Wenzel in The Earth’s Gift to Medicine. I actually saw the remains of some of these lead pipes on a recent visit to Pompeii, the Roman city buried by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD. The upper classes also used lead-containing glazes on their ceramic drinking vessels. It seems probable that lead was a factor in the rise and fall of insane, murderous emperors like Nero and Caligula.
Several decades ago, Dr. William Walsh, former head of the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, analyzed hair samples from inmates in the California prison system. He found high levels of lead, a known neurotoxin, in all serial killers and mass murderers tested. Serial killers are generally considered sociopaths, people who lack a conscience and empathy, and kill methodically and with premeditation. Mass murderers, on the other hand, seem normal until they suddenly snap under extreme stress, go temporarily insane and shoot everybody in a McDonald’s, or a school, for instance. Dr. Walsh found both types high in cadmium as well as lead, and low in zinc. The mass murderers also tended to have high copper. Walsh later went on to found the Pfeiffer Treatment Center (PTC), named after my mentor, Dr. Carl Pfeiffer, with whom he collaborated. The PTC tests and treats people for heavy metals, vitamin and mineral deficiencies and other imbalances related to mental and physical illnesses.
Zinc deficiency is common in the general public in the US and in the Middle East. Dr. Pfeiffer speculated that this could be a factor in the “warlike, violent nature” of these areas. Dr. Walsh was on the Phil Donohue television show many years ago, and was asked which was more important in producing violent behavior, heredity or environment. He answered that it was a combination of “a bad chemistry and a bad childhood”. It is interesting to note that the crime rate in the US went down sharply eighteen years after Roe versus Wade legalized abortion in 1973, according to Freakonomics, by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. Apparently many women who want an abortion realize that they do not have the emotional or financial resources necessary to raise a healthy child. Another reason for the decrease in crime may be the removal of lead from gasoline. According to the EPA, blood lead levels declined by 37% in association with a 50% drop in the use of leaded gasoline between 1976 and 1980.
Low zinc is associated with anger, hostility and verbal abuse, according to The Crazy Makers, by Carol Simontacchi, perhaps because low zinc allows lead and cadmium to rise. Many brain enzymes require zinc for activation.
One of the main sources of cadmium toxicity is tobacco smoking. Cadmium is thought to contribute to emphysema. Smoking also depletes vitamin C, which is needed to help prevent cancer and, along with zinc, to help excretion of heavy metals. Other sources of cadmium are refined foods, which have a low zinc to cadmium ratio, and old galvanized water pipes, made with zinc that was contaminated with cadmium. Newer water pipes made of copper seemed like a good substitute, but copper levels can go too high, especially with acidic well water. Greenish-blue stains in the sink and tub are a warning sign of high copper levels.
Copper, unlike lead and cadmium, is an essential mineral, but excessive amounts can lead to hypertension, depression, hyperactivity, headaches and other disorders. Many commercial multivitamins have too much copper. Chocolate is also quite high in copper. Two milligrams is considered the daily requirement, but this does not take into consideration the copper that is being absorbed from food and water.
The epidemic of autism appears to coincide with increased vaccinations containing mercury, aluminum and other toxic substances. High levels of toxins and heavy metals in the environment, and a genetic inability to detoxify, contribute to autism and other disorders affecting the brain, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), schizophrenia, and even sociopathy.